Easter – 2017

April 16, 2017  

Matthew 28:1-10

“Do not be afraid.”
“He has been raised from the dead.”
“Go and tell.”

Fourteen words that changed the world.

“Do not be afraid.”
“He has been raised from the dead.”
“Go and tell.”

It was after the Sabbath. In the hazy gray-ness of dawn, the light just beginning to shine, the two Marys went to see the tomb.
They did not go to see the body of Jesus—they went to see the tomb. Just as we go to cemeteries to visit the graves of those we love, buried there, Mary and Mary went to see the tomb of Jesus.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake.
There had been an earthquake just days earlier, when Jesus died. Now, again the earth began to shake. The stone covering the front of the tomb where Jesus was supposed to be laying rolled away, opening the tomb. The women saw an angel of the Lord descending from heaven, coming down from heaven like lightening. The angel sat on the stone that had rolled away. The angel’s clothing was white as snow.
Who was he?

“Do not be afraid” the angel said.

The guards, big strong men there to protect the tomb from grave robbers, were afraid. They were so afraid they began to shake and then “became like dead men”—which, I think, means they fainted.

“Do not be afraid.”

Why not be afraid? There was an earthquake! The stone rolled away. An angel dressed in white descended from heaven like lightening. Yes, be afraid!

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary listened to the angel.

“Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus. He is not here. He has been raised from the dead. Come and see. Then go. Go quickly and tell his disciples.”

Do you think Mary and the other Mary heard anything beyond those words “”He is not here…?”
Maybe they heard the part where the angel said “He has been raised from the dead.”

“So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy…”
Yes, they were afraid.
Yes, there was great joy. Jesus was alive!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Do you think Mary and the other Mary needed the angel to tell them to go and tell? Wouldn’t you have wanted to run and tell everyone—everyone who loved him. Everyone who cared. Everyone he told he would be back but who probably never believed it…

Yes! Go! Tell!  He is alive!

Then suddenly!!! Suddenly!!! There he was! Jesus! Standing right there, in front of them!

“Greetings!”

Greetings?!?! You were dead! You were dead, Jesus! Now you are alive!

They must have fallen at his feet. Luke writes “They came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.”

Do you think they were crying? I think they were crying. I think they covered his feet with their tears.

Then, those words again: “Do not be afraid.”

Are you kidding?!?! You were dead! You were dead, Jesus! Now you are alive!

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Jesus speaks to us: Go and tell. Go and tell.
In the year 2017, the message is the same. Go and tell. Go and tell others who Jesus was, who Jesus is, why you worship Jesus. Go and tell others, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” Go and tell others, “Jesus loves you.” Because he does. Jesus loves us all; Jesus loves the world.
Go and tell others.

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Amen!